April 13, 2024

Brighton Journal

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What is happening in Haiti? Day by day, this happened during the recent spate of violence in the country

What is happening in Haiti?  Day by day, this happened during the recent spate of violence in the country

(CNN Spanish) — Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henri has announced his resignation amid a crisis of intense violence that has gripped the country for weeks, with highly coordinated attacks by gangs against law enforcement and government institutions.

In recent days, armed gangs have burned police stations and freed thousands of inmates from two prisons, in what a gang leader described as an attempt to topple the government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

According to United Nations statistics, gangs currently control 80% of Port-au-Prince.

A wave of violence erupted while Henry was in Kenya, where he signed an agreement to support a Kenyan-led mission to send 1,000 police officers to Haiti to restore security on the island.

Haiti revolts against gangs and government

Gang members control 80% of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.

However, violence is not new to that part of the small island that shares land with the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean Sea. Since the assassination of former President Jovenel Moise in 2021, Haiti has been plagued by waves of crime and unrest. Henry made efforts to control the violence, a major obstacle to holding crucial long-delayed elections, but without success.

A UN report published in January According to the report, the number of murders reported in the country in 2023 has increased by 119.4% over the previous year. A total of 4,789 people, including 465 women, 93 boys and 48 girls, were murdered that year. In 2023 alone, 8,081 people were victims of gang violence, including deaths, injuries or kidnappings, UN data shows.

What happened in the last few days in Haiti?

March 11, 2024

Haiti's embattled president, Ariel Henry, resigned on March 11, following weeks of growing chaos in the Caribbean nation that saw mobs attack government structures and regional leaders of the CARICOM bloc. On the verge of collapse.

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Jean Jr. Joseph, an adviser to Haiti's outgoing Prime Minister Ariel Henri, confirmed Henry's resignation in a statement to CNN, but insisted he would leave office only when a new interim government is formed.

Guyana's president and current CARICOM chairman Irfan Ali announced at a press conference with other Caribbean leaders late Monday that Henry would resign “following the establishment of an interim presidential council and the appointment of a prime minister.”

Burned vehicles in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on March 9, 2024 Clarence Sifroi/AFP/Getty Images

March 10, 2024

Haiti's government declared a state of emergency after armed gangs stormed the country's largest prison in the capital Port-au-Prince, killing and wounding police and prison staff and allowing about 3,500 inmates to escape.

One of the gang's leaders, Jimmy “Barbecue” Ceresier, took credit for the attack and escaped as an attempt to overthrow Henry's government.

“If Ariel Henry does not resign, if the international community continues to support Ariel Henry, they will lead us directly into a civil war that will end in genocide,” Ceresier told Reuters in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday.

March 3, 2024

Tensions began a few days earlier when Jimmy Ceresier, the leader of a gang known as “Barbecue”, called for Ariel Henry to be thrown out. “We call on the Haitian National Police and the military to take their responsibility and arrest Ariel Henry. Again, the population is not our enemy; armed groups are not our enemy. Arrest Ariel Henry for the liberation of the country,” Ceresier said. : “With these weapons we will liberate the country, these weapons will change the country.”

In an attempt to respond and restore order, Henry called for military assistance.

Public frustration building against Henry over his inability to stem the unrest boiled over after he announced last month that he would not resign, citing escalating violence. As per the previous agreement, Henry promised to hold elections and transfer power by 7 February.

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On Sunday the 3rd, two prison escapes were reported in Port-au-Prince and Croix des Poinquets – more than 3,000 prisoners, including “dangerous prisoners” -, kidnappings and murders, began. This new cycle of violence in Haiti. Subsequently, the government declared a state of emergency and a curfew.

Finance Minister Patrick Poivert's acting prime minister's statement said “security is deteriorating”, particularly in the capital Port-au-Prince, and “violent criminal activity perpetrated by armed gangs”, including kidnappings and murders. Violence and looting against civilians, women and children.

Gang leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Ceresier poses for a photo with gang members in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (Credit: Giles Clarke)

March 4, 2024

On Monday, the U.S. Embassy urged citizens to leave the country due to escalating violence, and said the embassy would operate on a limited basis and that “operations may be further impacted during the week due to the violence.” Transport and Infrastructure.

For its part, the French Embassy in Haiti suspended its administrative and visa services on Monday: “As a precautionary measure, visa and French administrative services at the French Embassy in Port-au-Prince will be closed to the public tomorrow, Monday. 4. March 2024,” the embassy posted on X .

In addition, the President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader, announced that there is heightened security on the border with Haiti. While the president did not reveal what the increase in border security would entail, he warned that there would be a “severe response” to fugitive Haitian prisoners entering the country. Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Carlos Luciano Díaz Morfa announced this Tuesday that soldiers stationed at the border are “prepared to prevent or prevent any incident” that could threaten the peace of the region.

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March 5, 2024

Ariel Henry has landed in Puerto Rico, Sheila Anglero Mojica confirmed to CNN, ending speculation about her whereabouts. The wave of violence erupted while Henry was in Kenya, the prime minister's last public appearance from the country on Friday, March 1, before arriving in Puerto Rico on Tuesday.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “deeply concerned” by the rapidly deteriorating security situation and its impact on civilians, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

In addition, gang leader Jimmy Serisier, aka “Barbecue,” sent a stark warning on Tuesday that Haiti's prime minister “will face genocide” if he remains in power.

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry at the US International Africa University in Nairobi on March 1, 2024.
(Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

“If Ariel Henry does not resign, if the international community continues to support Ariel Henry, they will lead us directly into a civil war that will end in genocide,” Ceresier told Reuters in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday. “The international community, especially the US, Canada, France and the GORE Group, is responsible for all the deaths in Haiti.”

Ceresier, a former police officer, said gangs were fighting to get rid of Henry “as quickly as possible.” “Then, let's begin the struggle against the current system, the country we want, a Haiti with jobs for all, a Haiti with security, a Haiti with free education, a Haiti without social discrimination, that all people can achieve. Stand up for what they want,” he added.

finally, America has asked Henry “To advance a political process that will lead to the establishment of an interim presidential council that will lead to elections,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Wednesday. “We believe it is urgent to move in that direction and begin the process of returning to normalcy in Haiti,” he added.

Editor's note: This text was originally published on March 6 and has been updated with the latest developments in Haiti